The idea of a committed relationship always scared the hell out of me. I’m a highly independent woman and I always thought you could either have independence or a relationship, not both. Of course, I was wrong — you can absolutely be a great girlfriend and a badass independent woman at the same time. You don’t have to compromise either of them — you just need to find a balance.
1. HAVE YOUR OWN INTERESTS.
This is one of the most important things — you need your own hobbies and interests that you love, not your boyfriend’s. It’s fine to share an interest with him or pick up something new that you never knew about previously, but don’t give up your own passions for the sake of the relationship.
2. MAKE SOME YOU TIME.
Yes, you still need time to yourself when you’re in a relationship. I love having some much needed alone time. I don’t feel the need to be around him 24/7, and it’s actually made our relationship better because of it.
3. STAY YOURSELF, NO MATTER WHAT.
It’s easy to get sucked into the relationship and start changing — I’ve been there. It’s also when I step away and take some time to reevaluate what I’m doing and who I’m becoming. Spend more time with your hobbies or friends. Make sure you’re still happy with who you are. You want to still recognize yourself if the relationship ends.
4. DON’T PUSH YOUR FRIENDS AWAY.
Your friends were here before he was, so don’t push them away. They love you for you, and they’ll also remind you to not change. I had friends leave me because they didn’t like my boyfriend, but I’ve stayed true to my closest friends and vice versa. They help keep me grounded.
5. HAVE A SPACE THAT’S ALL YOURS.
If you live together, alone time might seem like a fantasy. That’s why you need a space that’s just for you. It could be a room or even a corner of a room that’s full of nothing but your stuff. Let your guy know that you’re not to be disturbed when you’re in your space unless it’s an emergency.
6. DON’T COMPROMISE ON WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU.
Your values, morals, goals, and loved ones are what make you who you are. Don’t ever compromise those. I know relationships require compromise, but certain things are non-negotiable. Remember, your independence is one of those things.
7. SPEAK UP WHEN YOU’RE PISSED.
Don’t hold back. If you get pissed, say something. Of course, make sure you fight fairly, too. He’s not going to fully understand your independence if you stay quiet all the time. Let him know how you feel and that you have opinions, too.
8. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, EVEN IF HE DOUBTS YOU.
I know you want him to believe in you, but sometimes he’s going to doubt you. You’re an independent woman. Believe in yourself and do what you want, anyway. I didn’t exactly have my boyfriend’s support when I started writing, but I did it anyway. Now, he couldn’t be prouder.
9. TALK OFTEN.
Independent women aren’t used to having to include someone else in their lives. Yes, we have friends and family, but they seem to just fall into place. Adding a boyfriend means including someone new. If you don’t communicate often and make him a real part of your life, he’ll feel left out. You can still have your independence, but let your guy into your life, too.
10. HE’S YOUR PARTNER, NOT YOUR OWNER.
Some guys seem to think they’re your owner in a relationship. The number one key to staying independent in relationships is to always make sure he understands that you’re equal partners. The best idea is for each of you to have your own responsibilities in the relationship so no one’s “in charge.”
11. SCHEDULE TIME APART REGULARLY.
I love my guy, but I don’t want to be around him 24/7. I think about him when he’s not around, but I need time to myself. Make sure you schedule some time apart regularly. It could be one day a week or even just a few evenings a week. Do whatever feels best for your relationship.
12. LET YOUR PARTNER KNOW WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU.
Sometimes he’s not going to quite understand your actions. For instance, if he’s used to dating less independent women, he’s going to think something’s wrong when you want to have a day to yourself. Talk to him. Explain why independence is important and what things you need to do to feel independent. Being open will help him understand and accept who you are.